* The AP has a story out entitled “With eye on 2018, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says ‘Don’t blame me’”…
With crises mounting around him, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s strategy for fending off potential Democratic challengers and keeping his job in 2018 includes stressing the bright spots while blaming others for the things going horribly wrong.
As a Republican in a solidly Democratic state, the wealthy former private equity investor would have been one of the country’s most endangered GOP incumbents even under the best of circumstances. Adding to his task are a state budget impasse that has dragged on for most of his two years in office, decimating many social service agencies and creating billions more in debt, and a labor dispute that has Illinois’ largest public-employee union holding its first strike-authorization vote.
Rauner didn’t make more than a fleeting reference to the budget until the end of his annual State of the State address on Wednesday. Instead, he highlighted accomplishments such as ethics reforms, increased funding for schools and improved cybersecurity of state records and said he was “deeply optimistic” about Illinois’ future.
When he made it to the budget issue, he was quick to point the finger at his predecessors for creating a mess that includes $130 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and the worst credit rating of any state.
Yeah, and then things got worse on every fiscal front.